Blocking the Trem, Does it Affect String Tension? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-10-2005, 06:25 AM Thread Starter
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Blocking the Trem, Does it Affect String Tension?


My main axe has an Edge on it. Due to the fact I play live, use different tunings, and don't like carrying a backup guitar; I blocked the trem with two wood blocks. This way I can go to drop tuning, replace a string in a few mins, and keep playing if a string breaks.

Does blocking the trem, reduce the string tension? I'm not sure how to word this, so I'll try to explain myself better. With the trem unblocked, you have the force of three springs pulling on the strings. With it blocked, now you just have the tension in the springs from just the springs being tuned to pitch. Does having the springs in the trem give added tension to the springs, or does it just balance out the tension all ready in the springs and the net force is zero (the wooden blocks are acting like the springs now?)?


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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-10-2005, 06:53 AM
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Re: Blocking the Trem, Does it Affect String Tension?

No idea about the physics behind it, but I use blocked trems and I think it does make a difference. At the very least, there's a difference in feel (it takes a couple of days to get used to it)

I find bending strings easier, and I have better control over vibrato because there's no tension from the springs. There's a bit more sustain too.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-10-2005, 08:14 AM
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Re: Blocking the Trem, Does it Affect String Tension?

I would say less tension with the floating trem. The springs give a little so bending will feel easier, but you probably have to bend a little higher to get the same pitch. So maybe it equals out.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-10-2005, 11:17 AM
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Re: Blocking the Trem, Does it Affect String Tension?

I dunno why but when I used to block the trems on my guitars, the tension did feel different than without the trem block. Initially when I installed the block, I thought I was getting more sustain, but I eventually took it out because I realized that the block has to be a dead on fit without much of a gap and be made of a good block of wood, because over time, I realized that I was loosing sustain and tone because the trem block was sucking it all. (Now I swear by these ESP Arming Adjusters)

I find that with the springs, my guitars have a looser feel, but it may just be me.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 12-17-2005, 03:17 PM
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Red face Re: Blocking the Trem, Does it Affect String Tension?

I don't fully understand but here goes:
The springs are screwed to equal to the force of the pull of the strings, there is no extra force. When the tremolo is blocked, the wooden blocks replace the force of the springs, as the tremolo now doesnt absorb the energy from your pick the sound and feel of the guitar will slightly differ...
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-18-2006, 09:23 AM
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Re: Blocking the Trem, Does it Affect String Tension?

It doesn't affect the tension as much as it changes the distance you have to puish a string when you bend it. When you bend a string, the bridge starts to go down so you have to push the string further to bend it to the pitch you want.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-27-2006, 09:04 AM
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Re: Blocking the Trem, Does it Affect String Tension?

If you simply put a block in for dive-only there should be NO difference in tension. Because all you are doing is preventing the trem from going sharp. Downward operation is not affected so something like bending a string will still make the others go flat, pulling the trem towards the nut somewhat.
Now when I block for dive-only, I crank the trem springs a bit tighter so I get the advantage of not having things go flat when I do double stop bends, unision bends, etc. So then there would be some added tension, seemingly - because there would be no give from the trem like when it's free floating. I would bet the the string at rest (not being touched) would have the same tension either way.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-27-2006, 09:10 AM
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Re: Blocking the Trem, Does it Affect String Tension?

I think the fact that players like Eric Clapton uses a tremolo equipped guitar but blocks it off says that the trem does affect the sound quite a bit. The spring cavity alone alters the sound alot, i personally fill mine with tissue to cut the noise created by the springs. As for blocking it, you need a real hard piece of wood or even metal to block it off, to stop it soaking the sound up.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-27-2006, 09:18 AM
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Re: Blocking the Trem, Does it Affect String Tension?

The tension are the same...the wood opposite the same force to the strings like the springs ( 3°Newton theorema,I don't know how to explain in english,maybe 3° Newton law,action reaction).I think!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-27-2006, 10:07 AM
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Re: Blocking the Trem, Does it Affect String Tension?

when you bend strings with a floating trem, the bridge itself goes flat and this can create an overall softer feel to some (due to the lessened tension as as the other strings/notes simultaneously go flat). You actually need to bend the string further to compensate for the trem going flat, but the tension is distrubuted over the longer length of travel.

So a fixed bridge guitar (same scale) should have more immediate resistance when you start the bend because the bridge doesn't move and more finger pressure is required to start the bend.

To some, this might be "less tension" since the bend can be shorter and quicker (to achieve the same pitch as a floating trem axe). It's really subjective.. the best way to lessen string tension is obviously detune a bit or a use shorter scale guitar.. glen
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